Truffle beet hummus

I recently hosted my first plant-based potluck of 2019, an event I’m hoping to do once a month with friends and family, and this truffle beet hummus was a hit.   The surprising trick to this hummus is the beet flavor is actually from organic beet powder (vs. roasted beets) so you can make this really quickly.  I’ve been pairing it with Simple Mills crackers – both w/ the Everything flavor and w/ the classic almond flour crackers.  For some added nutrition and flavor, I top it off with some micro-greens for a healthy and somewhat sophisticated snack.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  1. One can of organic garbanzo beans
  2. One garlic clove
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup organic beetroot powder
  5. 2 tbpsn tahini
  6. A few squeezes of lemon
  7. 1 tbspn of truffle oil
  8. Himalayan sea salt

Directions:  

  1. Drain garbanzo beans and place in food processor.  Add ingredients 2-7 and pulse until you get to creamy consistency.  If it’s thicker than you like it, try adding 1/4 cup of water to get to desired creamy thickness.
  2. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and sea salt.  Optional: top with some micro-greens for a pop of extra color and flavor.

Bliss Balls with a Ginger Twist

While I was recently traveling in Portugal with my husband, our dear friends, Sugar and Shwa were house sitting for us and caring of our garden, and not only did they take amazing care of our home, but upon returning I was gifted a massive bag of homemade crystallized ginger.  Sugar, also known as Ilana, has been a dear friend of mine since we were 14, and she and I have both been big ginger lovers for as long as I can remember so she knew I would love this.  Inspired by this generous heap of delicious ginger candy, I made classic bliss balls but with a ginger twist, and these are now my favorite bliss balls that I’ve made.  These can be a sweet energizing treat for you, or given it’s mother’s day, it’s an easy gift to make for your mama too!  I like to store these in the fridge and have them before work outs.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
Bliss Balls:
1. 1 cups of dates (I used honey dates, other date varietals work well too) soaked for 1-2 hours in water to soften
2. 3/4 cup of walnuts
3. 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger
3. 1 tbspn unrefined coconut oil (preferably raw & virgin too)
4. 1 capful of vanilla extract
5. A few sprinkles of cinnamon 
Coating:  You can really get creative w/ the coating – they key is to have ingredients that are dry and ideally not to sweet so they can cut the sweetness of the date balls.  Great coatings include chopped/ processed nuts, seeds (e.g. hemp, chia, etc.), unsweetened diced coconut chips, and raw cacao nibs.  I also like to take all of the above and mix it up, which is what I did here:
1. 1 cup of walnuts, almonds or pecans – processed in food processor until in very small chunks (not all the way to powder)
2. 1/4 cup of hemp seeds
3. 1/4 cup of raw cacao
4. 1/4 cup of raw unsweetened coconut chips
Directions:
1. Take all the bliss balls ingredients and process in food processor until all ingredients form one large ball of dough-like consistency.   Transfer from food processor to a large plate.
2.  Process the nuts for the coating.  For the coating you can then choose to mix the nuts with the other ingredients like I did in a bowl or choose to keep separate and make bliss balls w/ unique topping.  
3.  On a large plate, take small chunks of the date dough and form into about a quarter sized ball, and then roll the date ball into the dry coating of your choice.  Continue this process and you should get about 15 date ginger bliss balls 🙂
And a shoutout to the lovely Sugar, my fellow ginger lover and a dear friend for life, who inspired this recipe.  

Coco Oil Fried Maitake Mushroom topped Hummus

I recently was reading a book on health benefits of mushrooms, and upon reading about Maitakes, I loved learning that these are considered ‘dancing mushrooms’ due to ancient lore that monks stumbled upon maitakes in a forest and were so overjoyed by these beauties that they starting dancing with abandon.   I get it.  Maitakes can make you dance.  They are these gorgeous, delicate mushrooms that crisp easily when fried and can make so many dishes elegant and more ‘dancy’.  For those local to the Bay Area, Far West Fungi, which has a home in the Ferry Building and is at so many farmer’s markets (w/ steep discounts at the Friday Chinatown Oakland farmer’s market) offers excellent Maitakes.  This time I fried them in coconut oil with a dash of Bragg’s amino acids and topped them on a classic Hummus recipe.  We ate it both as a dip and on toasted whole wheat walnut bread.  Enjoy + happy dancing!

Ingredients for hummus:
1. 1 can (organic) garbanzo beans, drained
2. 1 garlic clove
3. Tahini – 1/4 cup
4. Olive oil – 1/4 cup
5. Sea salt to your liking
6. Optional – dash of cumin

Ingredients – Fried Maitakes:
1. 1/2 cup of Maitake
2. 1 tbspn of coconut oil
3. Dash of Bragg’s amino acid

Directions:
 1.  For the Hummus, place all  hummus ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth (tip: I have tried to make this in my Vitamix too but food processor is much easier).
2. For the fried maitake toppers, heat a skillet with coconut oil and once hot add a dash of Bragg’s amino acids (if you don’t have this, you can replace with a few sprinkles of salt).  Once hot, add the maitakes and fry  on medium heat until crisped (about a few minutes).
3. Top the hummus with the maitakes and enjoy! Serve with crackers, toast, veggies, etc.

 

Lemony Coconut Fried Brussels Sprouts

Before joining the SF Women’s march yesterday and taking part in a historic outpouring of support in the name of equal rights, inclusivity, kindness, decency, healthcare access and more, I made some vegan comfort food to nourish body & soul both given the somber political environment as well as the continued cold, wet, rainy SF weather.  Specifically, I tried frying brussels sprouts in coconut oil (vs. my usual method of baking in olive oil), and I also made some twice baked sweet potatoes topped w/ Dang coconut chips and walnuts (that recipe coming soon!).  Here I share both the quick & easy recipe for Lemony Coconut Brussels Sprouts, inspired from this NYT recipe that I adapted, and some photos from yesterday’s inspiring and important Women’s march.

Ingredients:
1. Brussels sprouts, sliced in half – 1 cup
2. Organic coconut oil – 1/4 cup
3. Lemon, 1 slice
4. Sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium to large skillet, heat coconut oil on medium to high heat for a couple of minutes.  Once piping hot, place the brussels sprouts face down on medium heat and allow them to get brown.
2. Skirt lemon slice directly into the skillet if you’d like to impart a lemony flavor (otherwise okay to keep simple with just coco oil and salt). 
3. Once browned and starting to get tender (~4-5 min), flip over and allow to cook through on other side.  Sprinkle w/ sea salt.
4. Taste one and see if it’s got that melt-in-your-mouth tender, deliciously coconut oily texture.  If still too hard, cook longer on lower heat setting to tenderize.

So let’s continue to be extra aware of the need for self care right now and care for others.  Love, tolerance, decency, and fundamental kindness is the answer. And I’ll leave with you one of my favorite Rumi quotes, which I rediscovered this weekend, and prompts us to think about in our individual and collective ‘tailor shops’ what are we sewing / building towards?  

“Spend the spark of iron on the stone. Sit at the head of the table; dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine…You’re the tailor, settled among his shop goods, quietly sewing.”- Rumi

Chocolate Mint Granola (Holy Cacao!)

‘Tis the season for chocolate peppermint everything– including granola.  The sweet and minty breakfast/ 
snack is all organic, vegan and loaded with the superfood powers of raw cacao and coconut oil.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1. 2 cups of rolled oats (For this version, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free oats but you can use any that aren’t quick cook)
2. 1/2 cup of organic, virgin unrefined coconut oil
3. 1/2 cup of maple syrup
4. 1/4 cup of raw cacao
5. Organic peppermint extract – a couple of capfuls (go light – a little goes a long way w/ extract!)
6. 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
7. Sea salt
8. Optional: raw cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Places the oats in a baking pan
3. In a small saucepan heat ingredients #2-5 and stir until you get a delicious liquidy, minty hot chocolate sauce.  Once all the coconut and cacao is well melted and mixed, pour the chocolate sauce over the oats and stir to coat the oats evenly in the decadent chocolate sauce.
4. Add the coconut sugar, stir again and top w/ some sea salt sprinkles to give it that delicious sweet/ salty taste.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes and at the halfway point toss around.
6. Let cool and options to top include raw cacao nibs and/or coconut chips.

Grilled Artichoke Hummus

So right off the bat I’ll admit that while it may look like I was laboring to grill up the artichokes, the secret is much simpler: Trader Joe’s has delicious marinated artichokes that I blend into a classic hummus base. The result is thick, creamy, delicious and decidedly spring/ summery artichoke infused hummus.

Ingredients:
1. One can garbanzo beans (preferably organic)
2. 1 garlic clove
3. 2-3 grilled artichokes marinated in oil (I use Trader Joe’s version)
4. 1/3 cup tahini  (For those who live in San Francisco, Samiramis in the Mission has the best tahini and they are so friendly)
5. 1/3 cup of olive oil
6. Sea salt- a few sprinkles
7. Cumin – a few sprinkles
8. Optional: Lemon


Directions: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until you get to desired consistency.  Garnish with diced artichokes on top.

Enjoy with veggies, crackers, toast, etc. I had this on whole wheat toast with avocado and it was delicious!

Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Maple Tahini dipping sauce

This has been one of my classics that I’ve been making since college. It’s super simple with sweet potatoes, garlic, onion and rosemary, paired with a sweet and salty, creamy, tahini-based dipping sauce for a healthy snack or a mini meal.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (for about 5 servings:
Sweet Potatoes:
1. 5 sweet potatoes
2. 1-2 rosemary sprigs (If anyone lives in SF and needs some, we have an abundant bush and happy to give some away!)
3. 1 garlic clove
4. 1 small red onion
5. Olive oil
6. Salt


Tahini Sauce:
1.5 tbspn tahini
2. 1 tbspn maple syrup
3. Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot boil water and once boiling, submerge the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes.  This will cook them through only partially and will make them easier to slice into wedges and you won’t need to bake as long.
2. Once cooked, slice the sweet potatoes into wedges and put these in a baking pan. 
3. Toss all other ingredients — onion, garlic, rosemary — in the baking pan and generously drizzle some olive oil on top, and add some salt sprinkles on top as well.
4. Bake at 375 for ~50 min.  At the midpoint toss around to prevent some pieces from burning.

Sauce:
To make the sauce, in a small mixing bowl combine the tahini and maple syrup.  Add just a touch of salt . Optional: If this is too sweet for you and you want to balance out the sweetness, 1 tbspn of garlic olive oil will mellow out the sweet profile. 

Vegan chimicurri with oven baked pita chips

When I was 25, I was privileged to spend 2+ years living and working in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I was already a vegetarian by then so all the infamous “parilladas” or steakhouses didn’t excite me, but I certainly went to many throughout my stay, often as part of the requisite hosting tourist friends stopping through and eager to try the famed Argentine steak.  What did excite me, however, were the succulent veggie side dishes, and one that always stood out above the rest was the chimichurri dip, an herby, garlicy, olive oil rich drip that is bright and fresh and a treat for the the senses.  Many years later, I was craving some chimichurri with warm baked pita chips and recreated a vegan version with parsley, cilantro, garlic, walnuts, olive oil and some spices.  It was the perfect fragrant, warming treat on this grey rainy day in SF.  It is delicious simply spread on warm bread, but could also be a great accompaniment to veggies (cooked or raw), pasta and more.  Enjoy!

Chimichurri Ingredients:
1. 1/2 bunch of cilantro
2. 1/2 bunch of parsley
3. 2 garlic cloves
4. 1/2 cup or 1 ramekin of walnuts
5. 1/2 cup of olive oil
6. squeeze of lemon
7. salt and pepper to your taste preferences
8. Optional: add 1 tbspn nutritional yeast if you want to add a slight cheesy flavor (I did and really liked it). 

Directions- Chimichurri:  Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it’s well blended but still has a slight chunky consistency.  Top with extra olive oil and salt if needed.

For warm pita chips, I like to use whole wheat pita, cut into triangle wedges,  brush with olive oil and salt and bake on 400 for a couple minutes per side until they get nice and toasty.  They are so moist and delicious straight out of the oven!

Trio of Hot Peppers and Lime Hummus

I like to give credit where credit is due.  This morning while frequenting our local Alemany Farmer’s market, we tried The Hummus Guy’s Habanero Lime hummus and I liked the spicy kick so did a twist on this complementary combo by making it a trio of hot peppers with lime.  Last weekend while in Paso Robles, we saw a large sign on the side of the road for avocados, lemons and limes, and got the limes from a beautiful honor system stand off the road.  The trio of peppers and garlic were generously gifted to us from our Airbnb host’s garden.  The result is a hummus with a bright spicy kick and you can mellow this out or dial up the heat by adjusting the amount of peppers you add.

Ingredients:
1. 1 can of garbanzo beans, fully drained (I get a case of organic beans at Costco at less than $0.80 per can)
2. 2 tablespoons of tahini (at least, you can add more if you like!)
3. 1/4 cup of regular or garlic olive oil
4. 1 garlic clove, diced
5. 1/2 jalapeno, habanero, and red pepper (not sure what varietal it was), chopped + keep some extra for garnish
6. 1/4 lime, squeezed into food processor
7.  Salt to your preference

Directions: Put all in ingredients in food processor and process to your desired consistency, chunky or smooth.  Once done, transfer to a bowl and top with some extra olive oil and pepper garnish. Serve with veggies, pita chips (The Hummus Guy’s Lemon chips are amazing), or whatever else you love hummus with.

Lemon Sesame Hummus, topped with Olea Lemon Olive Oil

On a recent road trip to Paso Robles where I went with Marcus to run the Harvest half marathon, we had the pleasure of experiencing a decadent, foodie filled weekend.  This started at our home base, my favorite Airbnb to date (check it out here), which I highly recommend this for a unique, rejuvenating farm stay with incredibly cute Alpacas on site., Our sweet hosts Rick and Bridgette opened their incredible farm studio, and generously shared with us four different types of homemade jams from their orchard, fresh eggs from their chickens, freshly canned pickles and more. They epitomized the joy of sharing a sense of place and extending community through food.


While staying in Templeton, a sister town and in my opinion more charming town than downtown Paso Robles, we were on the hunt to try some local olive oils and Yelp led us to Olea, a delightful well kept yellow casita on an olive ranch that did a well curated tasting, which included everything from traditional Arbequinas to infused flavors like Basil, Tarragon, Lemon and even Kumquat! We learned that Olea mostly distributes to restaurants including the famous raw vegan Cafe Gratitude that consumes their oil in drums (loved learning that Cafe Gratitude sources high quality, artisanal ingredients).  To me, their standout oil was the Lemon, which inspired this simple Lemon Sesame Hummus.  It takes me back to feeling free on open roads of California’s rolling hills, and laid back central coast wineries and farms. 
Ingredients:
1. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained 
2. 2 tbsp tahini 
3. 2 tbsp Lemon olive oil 
4. 1 garlic clove
5. Salt to your liking 
6. 1 tbsp sesame seed
Directions: Combine ingredients #1-5 in a food processor until well blended (or you can leave a little chunky if you prefer a chunky consistency like me).  Top with an extra drizzle of lemon olive oil and sesame seeds. 
Enjoy on toast, crackers, veggies or whatever else you love to consume hummus with.

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